March 5-6, 2019

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Future Feedback: The Necessity of Rethinking How We Ask Questions

Room 3 | 4:15-4:45 | Tuesday, March 5, 2019

At its heart, market research is all about communication. We ask questions and collect answers. But do the people we get answers from represent reality? Does the way we collect information reflect the way people communicate today? And what about tomorrow?

Survey research has shifted from face-to-face to telephone to online to online and mobile-friendly. Each time, the types of questions we could ask had to shift a little too. But we are on the cusp of a change that dwarf those transitions.

Consider, for example, what will happen when Alexa becomes some people’s main way of interacting with computers. Complex grid questions? Impossible. Long scales? Awkward at best. Rank ordering? Forget it.

The future or research must be device-agnostic. That means simpler measures, like yes/no, I’d buy it/not, I like it/not.

In this presentation we report on a series of research studies looking at:

  • Interest in doing surveys on multiple types of new and emerging ways of communicating;
  • how well binary/simpler measures perform in terms of sensitivity and ease of use; and
  • how these device-agnostic questions compare to traditional scales – with examples from original research on research as well as the literature.

The survey of the future will look very different than it does today. Catch a glimpse of the future and be better prepared for change.

Presentation type:

  • Research Report

Subjects covered:

  • Mobile research
  • Storytelling/data interpretation
  • Industry trends – future of marketing research
  • New techniques – qualitative and quantitative


  1. Where the future of survey research is headed.
  2. What the implications are for survey design.
  3. How alternative measures perform relative to more traditional methods and what that means for decision-making.


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